Wednesday, 25 November 2009

The Mercury Curse Claims Another Victim

Oh dear...average album...a target market that already knew about her...beneficiary of one of the Mercury Panel's "let's have an 'out there' winner this year" decisions cf. Roni Size, Talvin Singh (for 'out there' read non-caucasian) Speech Debelle is blaming Big Dada / Ninja Tune because she hasn't subsequently made a mint.

Hey, not a word about how the label gave you your break, submitted your album to the award in the first place nor how they will have allowed you complete creative control - something which the new deal with a major label you're hankering after will probably not.

Bye bye Speech...bye bye.


  1. "I want it to be a mix of Ray Charles, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and the drums of J Dilla." Apart from the fact that what she has just described sounds awful, she obviously missed the irony that none of those acts needed to go cap in hand to a producer to achieve their sound.

    Is it just me or is she becoming the black Lily Allen? Every interview I see her in she is talking shit about something.

  2. Playing Devil's advocate here for a second (or hold on, actually agreeing with the artist), I think she has a point here.

    A record label such as Ninja Tune, which although is small in stature, is still quite a decent-sized independent label, should have anticipated the increase in sales. It is simple economics. The contingency should have been planned for. Simple.

    When you sign a record deal, you should have full marketing support of a label which wants to make money for themselves as well as you. Ninja Tune/Big Dada have kind of slit their own throats after that.

    Sorry Richie, she may not have any grace, but she has a very good point.

  3. "Apart from the fact that what she has just described sounds awful, she obviously missed the irony that none of those acts needed to go cap in hand to a producer to achieve their sound."

    Although I'm not denying that she is a fucking idiot.

  4. Simple economics also dictates that you don't create a mountain of produce that you can't subsequently sell. It would have been Factory-esque of Ninja Tune to have produced thousands more CDs beyond their initial run and then found themselves in the very likely situation that she did not win (she wasn't favourite remember).

    We run a label, you know what cashflow / turnarounds are like - Speech very naively thinks they can press a button the minute after she wins and thousands of CDs magically ship themselves out - they don't. This is not X-Factor, this is the real world.

    Besides, who still buys CDs? She should have seen a significant increase in digital sales and didn't. The market wasn't biting.

    A forty-fold increase on a record that was barely still selling is not a huge demand.

  5. Have to agree with Richie I'm afraid Ben. I'm assuming that the LP would be available on digital formats, so would be available to people to download. 7000 sales after the award with no 'hit' single or major profile ..I would say that was pretty damn good. Artist, sometimes, can be very deluded in regards to their selling power. In regards to marketing, as we all know, the industry is saturated at the moment with new acts, the fact that the label got her on the awards should be applauded. As for people buying the record, well you can lead a horse to water etc. etc.

  6. Sorry, no.

    She could/should have had loads of coverage, interviews here there and everywhere and prime exposure in retail stores. People will by cd's when they can get them. There were other artists on the list who managed to do that and it did them well.

    There was more coverage after she won saying she's useless. It felt like the label didn't care. The lack of cd's just confirmed it.

    All business is about taking a risks, pushing the product and making people know it's available, and if you can't do that when you've won a bloody nationally broadcast major award, when can you do it?

    Still, I don't like her album so I don't really care. But the basic principle remains.

  7. Thats where the artists management should come in. And the PR company that the label/ management hire to market the artist. The Label is only one part of a successful team and has budgets etc to consider. We were sent CD's by the PR company but didn't review it even after she won the award, as I said oversaturated market. It's easy to blame the label but if the product was that good, after winning a major award and all the publicity it brought, it should sell itself to a certain degree!!